Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Bernard Lee On Deuce-To-Seven Draw Part II

Bernard Lee Discusses Bluffing, Snowing, And Paired Hands in Deuce-To-Seven Draw Poker


Read part I of our deuce-to-seven draw interview with Bernard Lee here.

RM: What happens then if you have position and you draw a card and you pair your hand, what should you do as a beginner?

BL: Well, I think as a beginner you need to let it go because you’re just going to get yourself into trouble. If the person bets out in front of you, you have one of two options, you’re never calling there, the odds of you winning on a paired hand is slim, so you’re either going to try to raise to get the person off the hand or you’re just going to fold. If you’re a beginner, fold; let’s be honest, to make that raise you’re really going to have to know the player to say “will that player lead out” etc., so as a beginner, just fold.

RM: Do you see a lot of bluffing?

Billy BaxterBL: A ton, absolutely. That’s really what makes this game so interesting. I was fortunate enough to have talked to Billy Baxter, who is the master, for three or four hours, I actually spoke with him right before the final table, and asked him for some advice. He said it’s the purest game of poker, you either have it or you don’t. What makes it very interesting is because of the aggression of a lot of the young online players, they obviously have a tendency to bluff more, which also means they have a tendency not to believe you as well.

So you may be pushing with a hand that looks like you’re bluffing and they may call you with a queen because they don’t believe you and then you flip over a decent hand. It’s a very interesting dynamic; you’ve got the old school players, the Billy Baxters of the world, the Chris Bjorns, and then you have all the young Internet players who are trying to utilise aggression more than the real, old-school strategies.

RM: For a beginner like me, is there an easier way to think about what hands I should be playing?

BL: Yeah, I’ve always said you should never try to draw to more than one, it’s just really pointless. Sometimes, maybe if you’re defending your blind and you have 7-3-2 which is a great drawing, that’s a different story, but I try to say to everyone try to draw to one, and if you’re going to be drawing to one, you realy want to be drawing to 9 or better, 10 is still a stretch. I tell everyone a number combination that I think if you remember it, it will really help you; 4,5,9.

There are four 7’s, there are five 8-5 or 8-6’s, and there are nine 8-7’s. There are 18 hands that are eight-or-better. Now you think about it and say, “Ok, what if I have a nine?” There are 38 nine combinations. There are more than double nine-combinations than there are eights ands sevens, so you can see how powerful an eight or a seven is. Let’s not even get into 10s.

That’s why if you have a nine, especially a nine smooth like a 9-6-5-3-2 you’re still in the top 25 number of hands, so for me, I like drawing to the 9. I’m probably a little bit more conservative than the players out there, but if drawing to a 10 you want to be drawing to more the smoother end to the 10 than say 10-9-8, if you have 10-9-8 it’s a much harder draw.

RM: A lot of hold’em players probably wouldn’t have heard the term “snowing”, can you explain it?

BL: To be brutally honest, snowing is a term that is more for triple draw than for single draw. This is something that a lot of young players make a big mistake with; they think you can snow in deuce-to-seven single draw, it’s really very hard to do that. To take a step back, in triple draw if you don’t have a deuce or a seven in your hand you almost don’t play because it’s really hard, you have to have an 8 or a 7 to really win in triple draw because you’re drawing so many to get there. But if I have 8-6-5-4-3, I have a great hand in deuce-to-seven single draw, I don’t care if you have four deuces, I don’t go out of my way to look for a deuce in single draw, of course it helps but I’m not going out of my way, whereas in triple draw you are going out of your way to look for that card.

I saw somebody try to snow and they said, “I had three 6’s and two 4’s.” So what? I don’t really get it. I literally said, “Oh yeah, I guess that’s the best way to play the hand” and just left it at that. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying it… but snowing in single draw is much harder than in triple draw.

RM: What is the best way for a beginner to improve in the game?

BL: Obviously to practice, and now the problem is it’s hard to; I would say to anybody outside the U.S. go online, they’re now on all the sites and it’s a good opportunity to practice. Kind of get a feel for what’s good and bad because I think a lot of people put a lot more equity into jacks or 10 pats and try to shove with them and not realise well maybe if he drew one he could be drawing to a good hand. I would read up; there are some strategies out there but you really have to play the game and get a feel for it and then you’ll have a better feel to potentially play a World Series event.